Do you ever wake up on the first day of the weekend (Friday here in the UAE) and think, “How on earth am I going to keep the kids entertained for the next 14 hours?”
Pre-child pastimes such as lie-ins, long lunches and lazy afternoons a thing of the past, of course.
It’s honestly not that I’m a disinterested Mum – it’s because, when DH is gone at the weekend, the prospect of such a long stretch of unstructured time without breaks feels a little daunting – especially as our options are still limited due to the climate.
As my Scottish neighbour (who bravely stayed here all summer) put it the other day, “You can’t even go into the garden and dig a hole to pass the time.”
So when my human alarm clocks come bounding in on Friday mornings at 6.30am and prize my eyes open, I ask myself a few questions: Do I have a plan? Can I avoid taking the kids to the supermarket? And, if I lie really still and don’t talk, will they let me sleep some more?
The answer to all three this morning was no.
I’m happy to be a homebody (being cancerian, I guess) but this clearly isn’t compatible with two active boys who start climbing the walls by midday.
Long before that, I’m treated to a chorus that to mums everywhere is worse than the most irritating mobile ringtone.
“Mum-eeeee, MUM-EEEE, I’m bored,” whined BB shortly after I’d poured breakfast cereal into their bowls and all over the floor while still half asleep at 7.30am. “I said, I’m BORED.”
“Where are we going today?” (he knows full well I’ll have to think of something)
We could have gone swimming, of course, but today the energy needed for that on my part (BB swims like a fish, but LB can’t yet) was lacking due to a cold (yes, even in 40-degrees heat!). I’ve also been promising myself for ages that we’ll go to church – there’s a good expat church in a hotel near work apparently.
And the mall is always an option, though I go through phases of never wanting to see the inside of a mall again – not the shops, but the plastic playareas that are mainly populated by Filipino nannies rather than mums.
When the boys started moving furniture around and fighting over the of-no-interest-to-them-normally decorative cushions, it was time to evacuate the house and we ended up at Mini Monsters, which is actually rather growing on me as the kids love it and there’s wi-fi for mummy.
So it all worked out in the end. But if, on a Friday in future, you see a blonde with two boys in tow looking at you thinking, “She would be a nice Friday friend,” don’t assume I’m odd, because one of these weekends it could be you who’s in charge of the kids with no man and no plan.